Effectiveness of a Barber-Based Intervention for Improving Hypertension Control in Black Men

A randomized trial of a barbershop-based hypertension-control program for Black male barbershop patrons found that patron's hypertension control improved when barbers were able to conduct blood pressure checks and encourage their patrons to follow-up with physicians.

This study aimed to determine whether a high blood pressure monitoring and referral program conducted in barbershops leads men with high blood pressure to follow-up with a physician. Participating barbershops were Black-owned, with 95 percent or greater Black male clientele. The barbershops were randomly assigned into an intervention group in which barbers offered blood pressure screenings with haircuts, and encouraged their patrons to follow-up with physicians, or a comparison group that offered blood pressure pamphlets. Participants received a baseline blood pressure screening and a follow-up screening 10 months later.

Control of hypertension increased more in the intervention group than the comparison group, and barbers were able to encourage 50 percent of their patrons with high blood pressure to see a physician.

The authors recommend research in other cities, as well as more research on barber-based blood pressure interventions before implementing such a program on a large scale. Participants were generally middle income so these findings cannot be generalized to a low-income population–nor does this study demonstrate whether its outcomes are sustainable over time.